Jim Morrison’s poetry contains some of the intense lyricism found in his songs; he wrote a lot of poetry, inspired by events around him. Some of these did feature in his lyrics, but others were standalone poems, published posthumously by others. Had he lived, perhaps these would have found their way into more songs composed by the band.
Morrison started composing his poetry during his adolescent years, and self-published a collection in 1969, titled ‘The Lords and The New creatures’. The collection itself shows Jim Morrison as an excellent poet, who could certainly have gone on to do even greater things with his words. However, as the volume is self-published, it lacks the rigorous editing process that his song lyrics underwent before they could be released for the scrutiny of the rest of the world. The style of poetry is very flamboyant, and excessively melodramatic in places, as Morrison had no-one to temper his self-indulgence by publishing privately. As a result, the poetry is less gripping than some of his songs, and poems published posthumously.
After his death, two more volumes of poetry were released, under the name ‘The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison’. The first volume is titled ‘Wilderness’, released in 1988, instantly becoming a New York Times bestseller upon its release. Within is a compilation of drawings, diary entries, photographs and poems from the young poet. It is especially a great read for those interested in Jim Morrison and how his mind worked, with lots of creative and intriguing poems. Although, of course, he was no professional poet, his wild yet troubled psyche makes for interesting content, and an insight into the man who was so important in advancing the sounds of the sixties.
The second volume, ‘The American Night’, was released in 1990, and was also very successful. The incendiary emotion captured in his poetry is thought-provoking and raw. It contains a multitude of poems and lyrics, as well as the screenplay of ‘The Hitchiker’. Morrison was certainly a product of his generation, but his dark and cynical outlook on many aspects of life are what makes this text worth reading, whether or not you are a fan of The Doors.
On two separate occasions, Morrison recorded his own poetry, and some of this was featured in ‘An American Prayer’, a reunion of the remaining members of The Doors. The first recording session was in 1969, the second in 1970, and this one included some sketch pieces and was attended by friends. Some parts of the 1969 session had been used to form the ‘The Lost Paris Tapes’ album, but other parts remain private and unreleased, in the possession of the Courson family.